Paris Hilton’s arrest on Friday in Las Vegas could land the socialite in jail again. The reality star was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance after police alleged that they found .8 grams of cocaine in her purse during a search following Friday’s incident, Radar Online reports. The charges could land Hilton anything from probation to four years in prison; she could also face a $5,000 fine.
Jillian Prieto, public information officer for the Clark County courts, confirmed that Hilton is due back in Vegas for an arraignment in the case on October 27.
TMZ reported that unnamed friends of Hilton’s said the hotel heiress and nightlife regular is wavering a bit from her initial “it wasn’t my purse” story, explaining that Paris claims a friend recently borrowed the purse and “probably” left the illicit drug inside it. Hilton allegedly said the friend returned the bag but that she never bothered to check the contents before using it herself.
The friend said Hilton explained that she was eating sushi at the Wynn resort with boyfriend Cy Waits when she got tired and Waits offered to drive her home before returning to his gig as a nightclub boss at the Wynn. “It could be a setup,” Hilton is reportedly telling friends. “Everyone knows how against cocaine I am.”
Hilton was pinched after police stopped Waits’ Cadillac Escalade when they smelled “the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” according to the police report in the incident. When one of the officers recognized the passenger as Hilton, he said she immediately tried to roll up her window. When police stopped the car and a crowd began to gather, Hilton told the officers she was “extremely embarrassed” and asked if she could use the bathroom at the Wynn and go inside to “prevent her from being molested by the growing crowd and also asked to go somewhere private and out of the public’s eye until the investigation was over.”
A Radar Online story claimed Hilton could be off the hook because police allegedly failed to check her purse at the scene and instead didn’t do so until she was inside the Wynn, which her lawyers could argue was an illegal search . The police report confirms that an officer escorted Hilton into the hotel to the Wynn security holding room while they waited for a female officer to take her to the restroom. Inside the Wynn, Paris asked if she could take some lip balm out of her purse, and when the officer handed it to her, he claimed in the report, “As she began, I saw a small bindle of what I believed to be cocaine in a clear baggie begin to fall from the purse and into my hand.”
Also found in the purse: a broken tablet of Albuterol — a prescription drug commonly used to treat asthma and wheezing — as well as Zig Zag rolling papers. Hilton copped to the Albuterol but said the cocaine was not hers and that the purse did not belong to her and that she’d borrowed it from a friend. When questioned by the police about the cocaine, she allegedly said “she had not seen it but now thought it was gum.” Also inside the purse were $1,300 in cash and some of Hilton’s credit cards.
Reported boyfriend Waits failed a field sobriety test, according to the police report, and was also arrested in the incident and charged with driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol.
The heiress had another run-in with the law over alleged drug possession earlier this summer when she was detained in South Africa at the World Cup for marijuana possession. But the case against Hilton was later dropped after officials learned that someone else in her group was smoking. Hilton has a history of getting in trouble for possessing substances and hitting the road, including a 23-day jail sentence in 2007 for violating probation stemming from a 2006 DUI bust.